The Glory Of Mangalitsa Pork Belly With Help From Miss Piggy, Laphroaig, And The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald

Apparently, Miss Piggy is a Mangalitsa pig, which means Kermit needs to overcome his trepidations about marriage because she is delicious.  I ordered three pounds of pork belly from Revival Market earlier in the week, and to my delight was told it would be from a Mangalitsa pig.  Oh, amazing delight!  Let me explain.

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This breed hails from the days of Austria-Hungary (a few decades before the empire), specifically from what is today Arad County in western Romania. A Hungarian Pig crossed the path of a European Wild Boar and the resulting progeny blossomed with succulent fat.  Specifically raised for lard and sausage (believe it, melted fat floats in a large coffee cup in my frig), this pig had it’s heady days in Hungary with as many as thirty thousand in a year grazing wild pasture.  However, as with many heirloom foods, improved means of transportation and refrigeration changed the demand for Mangalitsa and their numbers trailed off to currently six thousand in Hungary.  But that’s not the end of the story.

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In Michigan and Texas, Mangalitsa pigs are raised for the discerning gourmand.  Morgan Weber’s family-farm in Yoakum, Texas supplied this wonderful morsel for me, and as Edible Austin noted, “the Mangalista is known as “a highly specialized breed that produces some of the world’s most juicy and flavorful meat and fat prized by chefs and artisanal charcuterie makers.”

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Such a beauty to behold, like fatty geological layers in the earth.  I score the skin, just cutting into the fat.

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Salt and pepper with a light pour of olive oil.

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Lovingly placed in the oven at three hundred degrees for two and a half hours, with a twenty minute kick to four hundred degrees to crisp the skin.

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While I wait by the fire, I sip a brand new Laphroaig Select–a blend of three different expressions (Quarter Cask, PX and Triple Wood) which packs a peat punch plus a smooth, syrupy, honey taste.  And yes, there’s umami.

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Time, as it will, passes and the oven door opens.

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Oh my.  Time to plate.

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I’ve also roasted some sliced kohlrabi from Fruitful Hill Farm courtesy of Greenling and Gabriela has tossed a red cabbage salad.

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We sit down to eat and possibly with this cold evening in the thirties, I’m reminded of my Michigan home and play Gordon Lightfoot’s “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”  Bon Appétit!

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